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HomeKawasaki MotorcycleHow Airplane Engine Tech Created Kawasaki's Oldest Motorcycle (60 Years Ago)

How Airplane Engine Tech Created Kawasaki’s Oldest Motorcycle (60 Years Ago)

How Airplane Engine Tech Created Kawasaki’s Oldest Motorcycle (60 Years Ago)
When you think of Kawasaki, you likely think of one of the brand’s iconic bikes, like the ever-famous Kawasaki Ninja motorcycle. However, while the Japanese manufacturer is well-known for its bikes, the company has a lengthy history of creating ships, submarines, trains, and aircraft. Forty years after founder Shozo Kawasaki put together the company’s first enterprise, the Kawasaki Tsukiji Shipyard, the aviation department was created in 1918.
Before Kawasaki’s first motorcycle was developed, its aviation engineers were hard at work making cutting-edge aircraft, like World War II’s Ki-61 or the experimental Japanese aircraft, the Kawasaki Ki-78. Once Kawasaki decided to give motorcycle manufacturing a go in the early 1960s, the lessons the company learned in aviation design — like perfecting air-cooling technology and how to build vehicles that were lightweight but sturdy — would come in handy. When the manufacturer’s first bikes rolled out of the Kawasaki Aircraft plant, they were purely a local phenomenon. But soon, the company would experience explosive international growth.
[Featured image by Rainmaker47 via Wikimedia Commons | Cropped and scaled | CC BY-SA 4.0]

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